Student fee on the rise?

Sunday is the deadline for all budget requests of the Student Fee Committee (SFC) at Portland State University. All student groups already receiving student fees (please see sidebar), as well as groups requesting for the first time, must have their detailed budgets completed and turned in.

Many groups currently receive student-fee funding, and this year 10 new groups have attempted the process. SFC Chair Tracy Earll also saw an increase last year, with seven new groups receiving funding.

The SFC budget consists of the accumulation of student fees over an entire year, which is currently set at $131 per student, per term. If there are too many requests for student group funding, the fee could increase for students.

However, Earll points out that this would be just one of many factors that would increase student fees.

Most new groups requesting funding are Student Organization Council (SOC) groups. SOC groups are easy to start and are ultimately funded through the SFC.

One SOC group trying for student fee funding this year is Greek Council. Its president, Adam Johnson, explained that the group is requesting $2,000 in order to put on larger events for the Greek community and the campus at large.

He believes the group has “shown that we deserve to be SFC funded.”

By visiting, a student can begin an SOC group or get funding for one.

An SOC group can ask for up to $400. To receive more, a group has to go directly to the SFC.

However, groups must have been registered with the SOC for one year before being eligible for SFC funding.

Johnson also noted how the process to receive SFC funding is much more difficult, as opposed to the SOC $400 funding.

“It [the SFC] is much more strict,” he said, “in my opinion, because of the amount of money.”

Earll also pointed that groups funded directly through the SFC are followed more closely than groups which receive their money from the SFC indirectly through the SOC.

The seven SFC members all serve as liaisons to student-fee funded groups to track them over the year in which they are funded.

The SFC is also working to improve the process groups go through to receive funding and to make available resources for student fee-funded groups and student fee-paying students.

One such improvement has been made to the online budgeting system, found at, which is now more detailed than in the past. They have added the initial requests and appeals to the online records , as well as areas for comments from the SFC and fee recipients.

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Also, the SFC now takes more detailed minutes during their deliberations so that it is more clear what they discuss.

Earll has spent a few years on the SFC and explains that it is about “having to find a balance” between requests and the money available.

SFC hearings for requested funds are set to begin the second week of January. The final allocations will be released Feb. 20.